Tackling the Imposter Syndrome

Unfortunately, many scientists suffer from what is called Imposter syndrome. It can manifest itself for instance while writing, because that can feel like an exam where you have to show that you are competent enough. You are constantly critically evaluating yourself while writing. Your inner critic works overtime and produces paralysing thoughts: ‘I am not adding anything new’; ‘others would probably have done this much better’; ‘you see, I cannot do this at all’. ‘This first draft must be rather good, or else I will be ‘found out’!’

It may help to realise that absolutely everyone occasionally encounters these paralysing thoughts. Scientific work is characterised by having to deal with failures. And that can be difficult.

Imposter syndrome means you feel like a cheater and you think you are not competent enough for a job as a scientist. It is accompanied by the fear to be discovered and that is why people do not talk about it with their colleagues.

It occurs more often when you are the exception: as a young person in an environment with many experienced older scientists, as a newly appointed professor in a team of older colleagues or as a woman in a male environment. Or as a person of colour in a white environment, or when you work in a discipline in which you did not graduate or grew up in another country or culture.

In this workshop you will learn how to deal with these feelings of incompetence and will get tips how to overcome the imposter syndrome. For instance by learning not to relate all the problems to yourself. Most of the times the problems come with the job.
During the workshop chances are that you will find recognition amongst the other participants and that you can help each other to see things in perspective.